Seven little known facts of Bhima

Bhima – a wise person

Contray to belief that he was strong and could be easily provoked, few of  know that he was a level headed person and he had a good sense of good and bad. Following are the few stories which uncover a part of him, which is sensitive. Read on.

Airavat – The vehicle of Indra danced to the tunes of Bhima

One of the exploits of Bhima was to bring Airavat, the vehicle of Indra from heaven. Once, a ritual was to be performed by Kunti and Gandhari, which required Airavat to be present.

Airawat - The vehicle of Indra
Airawat – The vehicle of Indra

Kauravas made the elephant out of mud and performed the ritual but Bhima brought original Airawat to do the ritual. Arjuna facilitated by making a path of arrows from heaven to earth.
Bhima then starts his way and fights with the elephant and brings it down to earth. Kunti, thus performed the ritual with grandeur as compared to kauravas.

Humble Bhima

Perhaps the strongest person in the world at that point of time, but he was humility personified. When Shri Krishna asked them to provide an account of their powers, Bhima was most modest. Shri Krishna later told him that actually he was thousand times more accomplished than what he thinks of himself.

The greatest praise to him comes from Duryodhana. He names Bhima, Balarama, Keechaka and Shalya as the best warriors and the strongest. He named Bhima as the first person.

The righteous Bhima

He was not only the strongest person on earth, he had the measure of good and bad and was never afraid of saying the right things. During the game of dice, Bhima is the one who opposed the whole incident.

Yudhishthira playing Dice game
Yudhishthira playing Dice game

He rebukes Yudhishthira for getting into the game by suggesting that his hands should be burnt. When Arjuna tells him that he cannot do that to his older brother, Bhima reveals to everyone the Dharma that when elders commit mistakes, younger ones have to make it known and that mere mentioning of a punishment is enough and actual execution is not required. Thus Bhima punishes Yudhishthira for wrong doing, which is commendable and shows that he had an astute mind. He later on vowed to break Duryodhana’s thighs and drink blood from Dushashana’s heart.

Escape from Lakshagriha would not have possible without him

While Pandavas were trying to escape Lakshagriha, there was a long tunnel made which connected the palace to the outer world. The path was long and could have tired all the Pandavas while escaping. The mighty Bhima, carried all pandavas and his mother on his soldiers and took them to safety. His strength and power indeed came handy while escaping Lakshagriha.

Pandavas escaping from Lakshagriha
Pandavas escaping from Lakshagriha

He left his wife for his brothers and mother

While Pandavas escaped the fire of Lakshagriha, they were spending time in a forest. That forest was the abode of demon Hidimb and his sister, Hidimba. When Hidimb came to know about the five brothers and their mother, He ordered Hidimba to make kill the pandavas as they will become his food. As Bhima was guarding Pandavas, Hidimba could not do as instructed. Enraged, Hidimb himself ventured out in quest of human flesh, but was duly killed by Bhima.
After killing Hidimb, Bhima wanted to kill Hidimba too as he thought that she might want to avenge her brother’s death. But the almighty has other ideas. Hidimba was attracted to Bhima and wanted to marry, but he declines, as he did not want to be away from his brothers. Hidimba then begged Kunti to allow Bhima to marry her as she was deeply in love with him and also because she was all alone now. After pondering for a while, Kunti ordered Bhima to marry Hidimba. Bhima reluctantly agreed on the condition that he could leave her once she bore a child with him. She agreed and they got married. Within a year, Hidimba gave birth to a son and Bhima left her to be with his brothers.

 

Kichaka’s, the mighty warrior punished for untowards advances towards Draupadi

Another deed of Bhima was of killinh of Kichaka. Kichaka was the commander of Matsya desh, where pandavas were hiding in agyaatvaas. Once he rteurns fromthe war and gets attracted to Draupadi, who eas acting as sairandhri. Against the advise of queen. he starts to make improper advances towrds her. In dire need of help, Bhimasena comes to her rescue. Draupadi calls Kichaka in a forest there Bhima was waiting for him.. Afetr a great fight. kichaka was killed by Bhima. He had 105 brothers, who wanted to burn Draupadi alongwith their brother, they also met the same fate as of Kichaka.

Bhima killing Kichaka
Bhima killing Kichaka

Bhima’s family and wives

Besides Draupadi, Bhima had two more wives. One was the demon Hidimba, who had a son called Ghatotkacha. He played an important role in the Kurukshetra war. From Draupadi, he begotten a son called Sutasoma. Third of his wives was Balandhara, who was the daughter of ruler of Kashi. His name was Satsoma. He later became the King of Kashi. This is notable that he did not ascend to the throne after Yudhishthira despite being elder to Parikshit. Ghatotkacha and Sutasoma have both died in the war of Mahabharata.

Arjuna and Kirata

Arjuna receiving Pashupata

 Arjuna and Kirata

There is a humbling story about Arjuna who was humbled by Kirata. The world’s greatest archer, did not know how to beat an ordinary Kirata. He was made to understand that being greatest archer did not mean he was invincible.

Mukasura and his death

Arjuna did great penance in quest of Divyastras. Just when he was completing his worship, a demon named Mukasura, came to kill him. Being an accomplished archer, took aim of the beast and killed the demon, which took the form of a boar. As he killed the demon, he noticed another arrow in the body of the boar.

Argument between Kirata and Arjuna

Surprised and thinking that who could have killed the boar, he went about to examine the kill. It happened that a kirata (hunter) has shot the arrow and claimed the boar. He became angry with him saying that he deserves the prey as the hunter has killed the boar from behind. Kirata countered that there is no rule saying that a prey cannot be killed from behind.

Kirata and Arjuna
Kirata and Arjuna

Arjuna worships Lord Shiva

After the argument, a fight broke between them and to his surprise, his adversary happened to be an equal warrior. More surprise was in store as Arjuna was losing the battle, first in archery, then as wrestlers. Hapless, he decided to worship Lord Shiva and made a shivlinga on the earth. Then he brought some flowers and worshipped Lord Shiva. When he decided to face the hunter again, to his surprise, he found the flowers on Kirata.

Lord Shiva gives Pashupata to Arjuna

He understood that this hunter was Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva bestowed his blessings on him and he said that he wanted to test him whether he was worthy of Pashupata-astra. This weapon was the ultimate weapon to have in one’s armoury. Lord said that he was happy with Arjuna’s skills and he would bestow his blessings on him. In this way, Arjuna got his lesson and the Pashupata-astra, the great weapon.

Arjuna receiving Pashupata
Arjuna receiving Pashupata

Seven unknown facts from Mahabharata

Lord Krishna

Even Lord Krishna was once rendered helpless. This was not with force, but with love. The youngest Pandava, Sahadev once tied him with love and affection. People do not know that Sahadeva was a great astrologer as well.

Untold, Unknown facts from Mahabharata

The epic Mahabharata has many instances which reveal various aspects of human struggles. Shri Krishna, even being an incarnation of god, was deemed helpless few times. This was not because he was not capable, this was because that anyone who liked him or had a pure intent, was blessed by him in that way. Here some interesting stories are on offer, how Shri Krishna goes to any length to help his disciples and how Draupadi had a boon of virginity from Lord Shiva. These stories also tell about the powers and knowledge of youngest Panadava , Sahadeva.

When Shri Krishna was helpless

Sahadeva, the youngest of Pandavas was a very wise person. He was a great astrologer who could predict things in advance.  Once Shri Krishna asked him that what should be done to prevent Mahabharata war.

Sahadeva replied that Krishna himself must be tied down and imprisoned. He said that all Pandavas along with Duryodhana must be sent to forest and Karna must be made the king.

In response, Krishna challenged him to tie him down, Sahadeva started meditating and envisioned Krishna as a small baby and tied him down.
Shri Krishna
Shri Krishna
Since Krishna could not move out of the bondage created by Sahadeva in his meditative trance, he blessed him with divine vision and then only Sahadeva released Krishna from the bondage.

Draupadi’s virginity

Draupadi was wife of five brothers. She had a boon from Lord Shiva which she got from doing great penance. As a reward, she would get certain qualities in her husbands. This also resulted in she being the wife of five husbands.

Lord Shiva and Draupadi
Lord Shiva and Draupadi

When she complained about this to Lord Shiva, she was given another boon that she would become a virgin every morning, after taking bath. Thus she was able to become the wife of all pandavas at the same time. This is an another unknown fact from Mahabharata.

Draupadi could have fourteen husbands instead of five

Bhagwad Gita was delivered on Ekadashi

It was Mokshada Ekadashi, when Krishna gave the holy sermon of the Bhagvad Gita to the third Pandava Arjuna, as per the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The 700-verse Bhagavad Gita told at the beginning of the climactic Mahabharata war between the Pandavas and their cousins, the Kauravas at Kurukshetra.

When Duryodhana was outsmarted  – another Shri Krishna masterstroke

Sahadeva, the great astrologer was also an upright person.  Duryodhana requested Sahadeva to find him a suitable auspicious date to offer ‘Kalabali’ – a ritualistic sacrifice before war that would ensure victory for the performer.
And following the path of Dharma, Sahadeva told the recipe of pandavas downfall.
Enter Shri Krishna, when he came to know about this, he devised a way out of this. A day before the new moon, Krishna calmly went down to the banks of river Yamuna and with the help of two brahmin priests, started performing Tarpana, a ritual submitting offerings to ancestors and divine entities which is usually done only on new moon day (amavasya).
Duryodhana and Drona
Duryodhana and Drona
Brahmins nearby watched Krishna performing Tarpana on a non new moon day with surprise.  They were puzzled as to why Krishna, the all knowing supreme Lord would perform the ritual of tarpana on a non new moon day.
They thought that no way Krishna would do tarpana on the wrong day and that their own prediction of new moon day as the next day was wrong.  They were convinced that since Krishna was doing tarpana that day, then that day would indeed be new moon day as great Shri Krishna would never be wrong.

The sun god Surya and moon god Chandra who were watching the activities of Lord Krishna and other brahmins giving Tarpana on earth were intrigued as even they knew it was the next day they would align and come together to form new moon day.  They thought that there would have been a mistake somewhere and that they should bring it to the notice of Lord Krishna.

Both, Surya and Chandra descended to earth and met with Lord Krishna to enquire about the ongoing activity and explained him that it was chaturdashi, not the new moon day to perform tarpana.

Lord Krishna greeted them both and responded that it was indeed new moon that day.  The puzzled deities questioned Him how was it possible.  Krishna asked them what exactly happens on a new moon day.  The two stellar deities explained that the day when the Sun and Moon align and appear together, the lunar eclipse takes place and that day is the new moon day.

Shri Krishna on hearing that said that since that very day, Sun God Surya and Moon God Chandra came appearing together before him, it was indeed the new moon day (amavasya) and that was the reason He was performing tarpana on that day.

The Sun and Moon gods could not argue against Lord Krishna who so tactfully elaborated the reason for his strange activity and accepted His verdict and thus the entire world changed the new moon day, a day in advance to its usual occurrence at that point.

Krishna, once accomplishing this superhuman feat, at once ordered the Pandavas to perform the Kalabali from their end the very same day.  Since it was accepted by the sun and moon gods that it was indeed the new moon day, the Pandavas performed the Kalabali ritual on the newly established auspicious date which brought them victory in the Mahabharata war at Kurukshetra.  Duryodhana, on the other hand, performed the ritual on the next day (the usual new moon day) all in vain.

Shalya and Yudhishthira

In the war of Mahabharata,  Arjuna slayed all the great archers, including Karna, Bhishma and Bhima killed all Kauravas. We sometimes wonder that what other Pandavas did. This goes for Yudhisthira also. But the elder Pandava had killed a very important warrior from Kauravas side, who have been very difficult to tame.

Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira

There is an interesting story how Shalya was tricked by Duryodhana and he had to side with Kauravas against his wishes.

Yudhisthira knew this and  he extracted a promise from Shalya that he would demoralise Karna in the Mahabharata war.

Shalya had a unique quality that his opponent’s aggression would work in his favour. Due to this, it was very difficult to conquer him for any warrior. But Yudhisthira was not a man of aggression and in the war of Mahabharata, Yudhisthira could kill him with help of others.

Akshaypatra

while the Pandavas were exiled into the forest, they had a great help in form of akshaypatra. Contrary to the belief, this was provided to Yudhishthira and not Draupadi from Lord Surya.

Akshaypatra
Akshaypatra

Yudhisthira prayed Lord Surya. Pleased with Yudhishtira’s prayers, Lord Surya blessed him with the Akshaya Patra, a vessel that would give unlimited food every day till Draupadi finished eating.

Duryodhana was in heaven

While Yudhisthira was in the heaven he saw Duryodhana in an elevated seat in bright attire with all ornaments. Yudhisthira was displeased with this event and said that he was not interested the comforts at heaven along with Duryodhana.

Yudhishthira and Dog to heaven
Yudhishthira and Dog to heaven

He further added that it was for his sake all the relatives and friends were all killed in the great war of Mahabharata. It was because of him Draupadi in the presence of all noble people was utterly insulted in the royal assembly. Hence he decided that he wouldn’t like to stay in the heaven where Duryodhana was enjoying.

Yudhisthira could not see his brothers and his wife Draupadi, in heaven. This made him curious that how Pandavas were not in heaven while Duryodhana was. He was escorted to hell where he saw his brothers and wife suffering.

He was very much displeased, but soon discovered that gods have visited them there and all the pains have vanished. He was then said that all Pandavas deserved heaven and they have to spent some time in hell, because of few sins they have done.

21 facts of Lord Krishna

 

Marriage of Bhima and Hidimba – The Mahabharata

 Hidimba and Bhima

After Pandavas fled from the fire of Lakshagriha, the came to a forest. After walking for hours, they came to the part of the forest where a demon named Hidimb and his sister Hidimba lived.

The forest

Hidimb was a ferocious demon with a great appetite for human flesh. He sensed very soon that Pandavas were available for a great feast. He sent her sister ahead to Pandavas.

Hidimba and Bhima
Hidimba and Bhima

Hidimb sends Hidimba

Pandavas were sleeping and Bhima was awake looking for any troubles. Hidimba comes along and forgets immediately about the work assigned to her.

She fells in love with Bhima and she assumed the form of a very beautiful lady, approached Bhima and expressed her desire to marry him. She also revealed her true identity and her brother’s intentions.

Fight between Bhima and Hidimb

When Hidimba did not return for a long time, Hidimb went looking for her and saw her talking to Bhima. “I sent you to kill the human and you are talking to him. I will kill him myself.” Saying so, he attacked Bhima. A fierce fight followed and ended with Bhima killing Hidimb.

fight between hidimb and bhima
fight between hidimb and bhima

Proposal of marriage

After the death of her brother, Hidimba wanted to marry Bhima. Bhima refused and wanted to kill Hidimba as well, but Kunti interfered.

Condition by Kunti

 

kunti and hidimba
kunti and hidimba

Kunti’s acceded to Hidimba’s proposal, but on one condition. Once She had a child from Bhima, She must allow Bhima to leave her and join Pandavas.

Bhima’s condition

Bhima agrees to marry her, on one condition. “I will spend my time with you during the day, but I must return to my mother and brothers at nightfall. You may join us in our journey

Marriage of Bhima and Hidimba

Hidimbi happily agrees and they marry immediately. True to his word, Bhima spends every day with Hidimbi. She takes him wherever he desires and they have a wonderful, magical time together. Promptly at dusk, Bhima returns to the rest of the Pandava clan to spend the hours of the night.

Birth of Ghatotkacha

Within a year, Hidimbi gives birth to a huge half-rakshasa son, who is named Ghatotkacha, because his bald head looks like a pot. Ghatotkacha greatly loves the Pandavas and they are enamored with him.

bhima hidimba and ghatotkacha
bhima hidimba and ghatotkacha

Ghatotkacha went on to become a great warrior and an important figure in the Mahabharata war. A master wizard and sorcerer, Lord Krishna gave him a boon that no one in the world would be able to match his sorcery skills except Krishna himself.

Seven unknown facts from Mahabharata about Bhishma Pitamah

Shri Krishna challenging Bhishma in the war of Kurukshetra

Seven untold and unknown facts about Bhishma Pitamah from Mahabharata

 

Bhishma, or Devvrata will be known in the history as one of the great warriors who adorned this earth. The story of his birth was and his death were strange, but even stranger were his deeds on this planet. We all know that he has taken couple of difficult vows, but there are few other stories which are equally mesmerizing. Read on.

The vow which made Devvrata Bhishma
The vow which made Devvrata Bhishma – even devtas (gods) showered flowers on him

The garland of ever fresh lotuses

This is the story of Amba and Bhishma. It is a well known fact that Amba was discarded by her lover and Bhishma. She did severe penance to exact her revenge on Bhishma. Following this, Lord Subramanya appeared and given her a garland of lotuses which were fresh forever. This was also said that whosoever wears the garland, would be the enemy of Bhishma. Getting her desired blessing, she sought the help of the present warriors, but such was the clout of Bhishma, nobody dared to accept the garland.

Bhishma abducting Amba for Vichitravirya
Bhishma abducting Amba for Vichitravirya

Frustrated, she hanged the garland at the gates of King Drupad and left.  Later on, she dived in a pyre of fire and given her life. In her next life, she was born as a girl to Drupad and playfully wore the garland and later became the reason of Bhishma’s demise.

The stalemate between Bhishma and Parshurama – teacher and disciple

After leaving garland of Lotus, Amba reached to Parshurama and requested him to teach Bhishma a lesson. Parshurama, who also was the teacher of Bhishma, decided to fight him in order to have justice for Amba. The fight ensued for a long time and nobody could be beaten. Reason, Parshurama was akhand chiranjeevi, means one who could not die and Bhishma had a boon from his father, Shantanu, that he would be able to choose the time of his death.

The sixteen year old who held a river

Bhishma was the child of Ganga and Shantanu. There is a story of how Ganga drowned her seven sons, and Bhishma was eighth. This was because of a curse from sage Vasistha. Ganga took her eighth child away with her. After 16 years, a youth was found stopping the water flow of Ganga with a wall of arrows. When Shantanu came to know, he himself went to see that. He found a young man doing this, then he got ready to have a fight with him, the then Gangaa came, introduced him as his son and handed over him to Shantanu. Shantanu brought him home. His Guru were Parashuraam Jee and Brihaspati Jee like teachers.

Bhishma chose his date of death and waited for 58 days

Grandsire Bhishma’s body was pierced all over by arrows which served as his bed. He noticed that the sun was in Dakshinayana and hence it was not the best time to embrace death. Hence he waited 58 days for Uttarayana while lying on the bed of arrows. Bhishma Pitamaha had attained a boon from his father Shantanu that death would befall him only when he desired it.

Bhishma teaches Pandavas from the death bed

On the bed of arrows, after the war of Mahabharata was over, Pandavas reached over to Bhishma. Yudhisthira asks some questions which essentially ask how the welfare of mankind can be achieved.  Bhishma answers by stating that mankind will be free from all sorrows by chanting the [quote]”Vishnusahasranama“[/quote], which are the thousand names of the all-pervading Supreme being Vishnu, who is the master of all the worlds, the supreme light, the essence of the universe and who is Brahman. All matter animate and inanimate reside in him, and he in turn resides within all matter. This is available in anushashana parva of Mahabharata.

Bhishma teaching Pandavas from deathbed - Sharshayya
Bhishma teaching Pandavas from deathbed – Sharshayya

 

Books

An excellent book by none other than Anant Pai from Amar Chitra Katha. Third one is dedicated to the battle of Kurukshetra.

Bhishma was known as Prabhasa in earlier birth as a vasu

Vasus went for a holiday with their wives to a mountain tract where stood the hermitage of Vasishtha. One of them saw Vasishtha’s cow, Nandini, grazing there. Its divinely beautiful form attracted him and he pointed it out to the ladies. They were all loud in praise of the graceful animal, and one of them requested her husband to secure it for her. The vasu, Prabhasa explained that this cow is of no use, but on her insistence, he has given in. When Vasistha knew about, he cursed vasus to be born into the world of men. When the Vasus came to know of the curse, they asked forgiveness. Vasistha softened the curse on other brothers, but not on the one who took the cow away. This boy later became the eighth child of Ganga and Shantanu, Devvrata. He later known as Bhishma, who even caused the Lord to break his promise.

Bhishma made lord Vishnu to break his vow

Perhaps the grandest of his feats, was the occasion in the war of kurukshetra, when Shri Krishna decided to fight the grandsire. This happened after Bhishma created havoc in pandava’s army with his skills. Lord Krishna decided before the war that he will not pickup any weapon. On other hand Bhishma promised Duryodhana that he will fight like a lion and will kill Arjuna. There was an  intense battle  between Arjuna and Bhisma and Arjun being powerful still was no match for Bhishma.  Bhishma shot arrow which cut Arjuna armour and his gandiva bow. Arjuna was helpless before the wrath of the old, but powerful warrior. As Bhishma was about to kill Arjuna with his arrow Lord Krishna could not tolerate his devotee’s plight and he immediately threw down the chariot rein and jumped off the chariot onto the battle field and lifted a chariot wheel and charged Bhishma. Arjuna tried to stop Lord krishna but Lord says that in order to protect my devotee I must break my own promise.

Bhishma stories

 

How Pandavas saved at Lakshagriha ( The lacquer house)

 Vidura, Pandavas and Lakshagriha

Once, Duryodhana asked his father Dhritrashtra to send the new yuvraj to Varnavat for yearly festival. Dhritrashtra could not refuse Duryodhana and he requested eldest pandava to visit the Varnavat as his representative.

All five pandavas alongwith their mother Kunti reached Varnavat. Meanwhile Duryodhana sent Purochana to build a palace which was highly inflammable which was aptly named as Lakshagriha. The palace was ready in time and pandavas stayed in the same palace.

However, the wise Vidura had sensed something wrong, so he enquired and sent a digger to dig a secret tunnel from Lakshagriha to a river. The tunnel digger reached pandavas and offered to dig a tunnel for pandavas. Thus secretly, the work to save pandavas begun in the house of Lakshagriha.

Vidura in Mahabharata
Vidura in Mahabharata

After the work of tunnel digging was complete, pandavas were looking to find an appropriate day to make their next move. The tunnel has been made carefully and Purochana was not aware that a tunnel exists at Lakshagriha.

pandavas escape from lakshagriha
pandavas escape from lakshagriha

Pandavas invited the people for a feast. The feast was grand and everyone enjoyed them. After the feast everyone left and purochana was also sleeping. Seeing an opportune moment, pandavas set the palace of lac on fire. Then they used the tunnel dug earlier to escape from the burning palace. Bhima carried his mother and all his brothers through the tunnel. Purochana, became a  victime of his own design and was burnt while sleeping.

Lakshagriha
Lakshagriha

On that fateful day, a bhil woman with her five sons also came to the banquet and somehow they also became the victim of the fire.

Thus, by the foresight of Vidura, pandavas escaped from the ill will of Duryodhana and Shakuni. When they reached the end of the tunnel, a boat was waiting for them at the banks of river ganges, thus completing the escape of Pandavas.

Read: Unknown facts about Shakuni

The story of Raja Parikshit and snake sacrifice by Janmejaya

 Raja Parikshit and snake sacrifice

 

Birth and formative years

Parikshit was born to Uttara and Abhimanyu. He was the grandson of Arjuna and he was saved by Lord Krishna in the womb of his mother, when Ashwaththama directed Brahmastra on him.

Since the baby had been protected by Vishnu in his form of Krishna, the brahmanas proposed that he should be named Vishnurata, that is, protected by Vishnu.  But the baby had met Krishna inside Uttara’s womb and had become devoted to Krishna.  Whenever the child met someone, he tested to see if the person he had just met was indeed the person whom he had met inside the womb.  The word for a test is pariksha.  Thus it was that Vishnurata came to be popularly known as Parikshit.

Marriage and ascendancy to throne

He married Iravati, the daughter of Prince Uttar.  Parikshit and Iravati had four sons, the most important of whom was Janmejaya.  Parikshit also performed three ashvamedha yajnas (horse sacrifices) on the banks of the river Ganga.  Prikshit’s guru (teacher) was Kripacharya.

Parikshit became the successor of Pandavas when they decided to leave for heavens.

Sage Samika in meditation and the unfortunate snake incident

One day, while travelling through the forest, he became very exhausted and entered the hut of a sage named Samika as he was thirsty. He found the sage in deep meditation. He paid his respects several times but as there was no response. Frustrated, he took a dead snake and threw it around the sage’s neck.

Later when the sage’s son, Sringin, heard of this incident he cursed the king to die of snake bite on the seventh day.

 

Raja Parikshit , Sage and snake
Raja Parikshit , Sage and snake

 

Discourse of Bhagwata Purana

Following this incident, the king handed over throne to his son Janamejaya and spent next  seven days listening to the discourses of Sage Śuka dev (son of Ved Vyasa). This book compiled as the Bhagavata Purana.  

Having heard the Bhagavata Purana. Parikshit worshipped Shukadeva. He told the sage that he was no longer frightened of being bitten to death by a snake. He had learnt the nature of the atman and the brahman. When Shukadeva left, Parikshit sat down and began to meditate. Takshaka disguised himself as a brahman in order to get near the king. He then bit the king and Parikshit died.

Sarp yagna by Janmejaya

Parikshit’s son Janmejaya was furious. He resolved to perform a snake sacrifice (sarpa yajna) at which all the snakes would be killed. They would be consumed in the fire of the yajna. Takshaka fled to Indra for protection. Janmejaya urged his brahmins to chant the most powerful mantras, so that he could not be spared. Janmejaya finally stopped the sacrifice when Brihaspati interceded on behalf of the snakes.

Janmejaya is regarded as the first rules of kaliyuga and it is said that Mahabharata was first recited to him by Vaishampayana, a disciple of Vyasa.

 

Seven occasions when Lord Krishna saved Pandavas

Lord Krishna

Shri Krishna – Friend, philosopher and guide of Pandavas

Shri Krishna saved Pandavas on numerous occasions. Pandavas could not have survived the various designs of Shakuni and Duryodhana, if Shri Krishna would not have been around. Here are some of the facts.

Lord Krishna
Lord Krishna

Saving Pandavas from Sage Durvasa

Sage Durvasa has been famous for his ill tempered and curses. Once Duryodhana served him well and pleased, he asked him for a boon. Duryodhana cleverly asked him to pay a visit to Pandavas at afternoon. He knew that Pandavas would not be able to serve him at that time of the day and this will bring wrath of the sage on Pandavas.

Durvasa complied and duly paid a visit to Pandavas alongwith his disciples. This incident put pandavas in a fix as Draupadi had eaten from the akshaypatra and no more food could be taken from it.

In this precarious situation, Lord Krishna came to the rescue. He appeared at Pandava’s abode and asked Draupadi for food. Draupadi meekly replied – Lord, there is no food and we are helpless as we cannot service sage Durvasa.

Lord Krishna , Pandavas and Draupadi with Akshaypatra saving from Durvasa
Lord Krishna , Pandavas and Draupadi with Akshaypatra saving from Durvasa

The lord smiled and said – Dear Draupadi, please give me that one grain of rice which is still lying in the akshaypatra. Draupadi offered that to lord and immediately Lord’s hunger was satiated.

Surprisingly, Sage Durvasa and his troops also felt the same and they have to discreetly go away from that place as they were invited by Pandavas.

 Saving Arjuna from Shakti

After Karna gave his kavach and kundal to Lord Indra, he was granted the Shakti weapon which was infallible, but could be used just once. Karna saved it use on Arjuna and Krishna knew that he had to do something about it.

He summoned Ghatotkacha and soon, the mighty son of Bhima caused havoc on Kauravas army. Out of desperation Duryodhana requested to use the weapon on Ghatotkacha or all of them would die. Karna used it on Ghatotkacha and knew that he had just blew the chance of killing Arjuna.

Ghatotkacha's death
Ghatotkacha’s death

Saving Bhima from Dhritrashtra

After the war of Mahabharata was completed, all Pandavas went to meet Dhritrashtra. When Bhima started to go to Dhritrashtra to pay his respects, Shri Krishna put him aside and instead presented the iron statue of Bhima which was used by Duryodhana to practice.

Dhritrashtra, understanding that he was meeting Bhima, crushed his statue. Thus using his presence of mind, Lord saved Bhima from certain death.

Karna, Arjuna and Nagastra

Apart from Shakti, there was Nagastra with Karna which could potentially kill Arjuna. When Karna shot Nagastra on Arjuna, Krishna applied pressure to the chariot by his foot and thus sunk it, as a result of which the astra missed Arjuna’s head and hit his crown instead.

 

Duryodhana vulnerability

Just prior to Mahabharta war, Gandhari asked Duryodhana to appear before her without clothes. This would have made Duryodhana’s body as hard as a rock, so no person could kill him. When Lord came to know about this, he approached Duryodhana and said that how he would look naked before her mother as he is no longer a kid.

Convinced of this, Duryodhana, decided to use a loincloth. When Gandhari removed her blindfold, she shook her head in disbelief. But the die had been cast. Duryodhana’s body became a rock wherever Gandhari’s gaze fell. The part hidden by loincloth remained weak and Bhima used this weakness to kill Duryodhana.

Duryodhana-Gandhari
Duryodhana-Gandhari

Jarasandha’s Death

Jarasandha was a powerful king of Magadh and his death was important for Pandavas. Shri Krishna challenged him for a fight and Jarasandha chose Bhima for the duel. He played an instrumental role in Jarasandha’s death. He gives the vital secret to Bhima by pulling apart a straw and throwing it opposite directions thus indicating the way of killing Jarasandha. Bhima obliged and a great threat to Pandavas was neutralized.

Jarasandh Vadha - Bheema in Mahabharat
Jarasandh Vadha – Bheema in Mahabharat

Saving Draupadi

After Yudhishthira lost his kingdom, his brothers and wife to Duryodhana. Duryodhana asked Dushashana to bring Draupadi to royal court and disrobe her. Draupadi frantically pleaded, but no avail. Lord came to her rescue and when Dushshana started to pull her sari, that sari never ended. An exhausted Dushashana slumped to the floor and Draupadi’s pride could be saved by Lord.

Draupadi's saviour - Shri Krishna
Draupadi’s saviour – Shri Krishna

Following is depiction of this unhonourable incident by Madhubani painting.

 

 

Draupadi cheerharan - Madhubani PaintingDraupadi cheerharan - Madhubani Painting
Draupadi cheerharan – Madhubani Painting

More stories about Lord Krishna

Seven reasons why you would not like to be Arjuna

Seven reasons why you would not like to be Arjuna

I am sure you would be surprised by this but please be patient. I am going to write few facts which are not unknown, and then you probably will agree with me.

1. He had to share his wife with his four brothers. Imagine someone winning the hand of the most beautiful girl in the land in a tough competition and then share her straight away.

Arjuna winning Draupadi's hand
Arjuna winning Draupadi’s hand

2. Had to be exiled for no fault of his. In a bid to save a Brahmin’s cow, he entered the room which was shared by Draupadi and Yudhishthir. So he was banished by entering the room where his wife was present whose hand he had won.
3. His father in law was Drupad and teachcr was Drona. These two were worst enemies. Now you, put yourself in that position when your mentor and your wife’s father at loggerheads. It is like that place when you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

4. When Krishna praised his rival Karna in Kurukshetra. Being the best archer in business, you suddenly realize that your best friend is praising someone else and that someone else is your chief enemy.

Krishna and Arjuna
Krishna and Arjuna

5. This is no brainer. You are faced with the inevitable to fight with your brothers, gurus and everyone you respected.

6. When he had to resort to not so straight methods of overpowering his opponents. He had to break the rules of battle to kill his enemies, e.g. Karna.

7. To be penalized for being decent l. In swargalok, when Urvashi proposed and later cursed him for denying a union with her. Poor him.

Arjuna and Urvashi
Arjuna and Urvashi

I have not listed the sorrow of losing his son, Abhimanyu here,  as war takes away lives.  Above facts are the ones where he had to fight with the education,system, principles he had been taught and was living with. How would someone cope with these contradictions. Think.

Vidura – an incarnation of God – unknown fact from Mahabharata

Vidura – an incarnation of God (Mahabharata)

Here we come again with an unknown fact from the great indian epic, Mahabharata. This is about the brother of Pandu and Dhritrashtra, who was knowledgeable and wise, the great Vidura.

Few people know that Vidura, the chief minister of Dhritrashtra was an incarnation of Dharma. There is an interesting story behind this. Dharma was cursed by a sage so Vidura incarnated on the earth.

Vidura in Mahabharata
Vidura in Mahabharata

Sage Mandavya was deep in meditation and he was mistaken as a chief of robbers by a king and was punished too. When the king realized the mistake, he came and asked for forgiveness. At that point of time, the Sage questioned Dharmaraj that what was his fault.

Lord Dharma, who knew the great power of the sage, replied in all humility: “O sage, you have tortured birds and bees. Are you not aware that all deeds, good or bad, however small, inevitably produce their results, good or evil?” Sage Mandavya was surprised and inquired that when did he commit the sin? Dharma said that when he was a little child.

Hearing this, Sage Mandavya cursed Dharma that he would be born as mortal as his punishment far outweighs the misdeed he did.

Lord Dharma who was thus cursed by the sage Mandavya incarnated as Vidura and was born of the servant-maid of Ambalika, the wife of Vichitravirya.

This story shows that Vidura was the incarnation of Dharma.  The great men of the world regarded Vidura as a sage who was unparalleled in his knowledge of dharma, sastras and statesmanship and was totally devoid of attachment and anger.

Vidura - chief counsellor of Dhritrashtra
Vidura – chief counsellor of Dhritrashtra

He was appointed by Bhishma, while he was still in his teens, as the chief counsellor of king Dhritarashtra. Vyasa has said that no one in the three worlds could equal Vidura in virtue and knowledge.

 

Shakuni – the real story

Shakuni in Mahabharata

Shakuni

We know that Shakuni was the person who masterminded the ascendancy of Duryodhana by beating Pandavas in gambling. What we don’t know that he was imprisoned by his own nephew, Duryodhana and his father and brothers have sacrificed their life, so Shakuni could survive. Read this unknown and interesting strory.

Shakuni in Mahabharata
Shakuni in Mahabharata

Shakuni – The gambler, whose wishes were obeyed by the dice was the brother of Gandhari. There is a story that the dice he used was made out of bones of his father,  Subala’s thighs.  His sister, Gandhari had some problem in her astrological chart according to that her second husband only will survive.

To rectify this situation, Gandhari was first married to a goat and then the animal was killed, so strictly speaking, she became a widow before marrying Dhritharashtra.  When Duryodhana took charge of the Hastinapura, he was lambasted by Bhima that he is son of a widow.

Shakuni defeating Yudhishthira
Shakuni defeating Yudhishthira

Angered with this insult, he came to know about the story,  attacked Gandhar province and imprisoned his 100 uncles including Shakuni. He arranged to provide one handful of rice for all of them to eat everyday. It was decided by the Subala, the father that Shakuni will eat the food given and survive to destroy Kouravas.

Shakuni’s brilliance

There is also an other story about how his father assessed the intelligence of his sons to select the most brilliant one. He asked his sons who were all in the prison to insert a thread through a bone so that who is succesful can eat the fistful of rice and survive to take revenge.

All the sons attempted and failed but Shakuni emerged victorious. He managed to tie a speck of rice to one end of a thread and fed it to an ant which took the thread through the hole of the bone. Shakuni survived. He was asked to eat the flesh of his own father which he did and created set of dice from his bones. After all of them died and only Shakuni was left,he was allowed out of prison on Gandhari’s insistence.

Note: This story is not found in original Mahabharata written by Vedavyasa

Bhishma and Parshurama – Two great warriors

Bhishma and Parshurama

The battle between Bhishma and Parshurama

Amba’s abduction

Bhishma (son of Shantanu and Ganga) was a great archer and a warrior. He is known for his vow of celibacy and skills in the Mahabharata. He had the task of  finding a bride for his half-brother,  Vichitravirya.  He abducted princesses Amba, Ambika and Ambalika of Kashi (Varanasi) at their swayamvara.  Salwa, the ruler of Saubala, and Amba (the eldest princess) were committed to each other. When Amba confided in Bhishma that she wished to wed Salwa. Knowing this, He sent her back to Salwa who turned her down as it was humiliating for him to accept a woman who had been so long in the company of another man. She then naturally approached Bhishma and demanded him to marry her, which he refused, citing his vow.  Amba, humiliated and enraged beyond measure, vowed to avenge herself against Bhishma.

Bhishma abducting Amba, Ambika and Ambalika
Bhishma abducting Amba, Ambika and Ambalika

Preparation of the battle at Kurukshetra

Legend has it that at her maternal grandfather’s suggestion Amba sought refuge with Parshurama, who ordered Bhishma to marry Amba. Parshurama (sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu) was the guru of Bhishma. He politely refused saying that he was ready to give up his life at the command of his teacher but he could not break his promise. Upon the refusal, Parshurama called him for a fight at Kurukshetra.  At the battleground, while he was on a chariot, Parshurama was on foot. Bhishma requested Parasurama to also take a chariot and armour so that Bhishma would not have an unfair advantage. Parshurama blessed Bhishma with the power of divine vision and asked him to look again. When Bhishma looked at his guru with the divine eye-sight, he saw the Earth as Parshurama’s chariot, the four Vedas as the horses, the upanishads as the reins, Vayu (wind) as the charioteer and the Vedic goddesses Gayatri, Savitri & Saraswati as the armour.

Bhishma and Parshurama
Bhishma and Parshurama

The battle between the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and Bhishma

Bhishma got down from the chariot and sought the blessings of Parshurama to protect his dharma, along with the permission to battle against his teacher. Parshurama was pleased and said to Bhishma that if he had not behaved in this manner, Parshurama would have cursed him, for it is the duty of warriors who fight against elders to not abandon the traditions of humility and respect for elders. Parshurama blessed him and advised him to protect his dharma of brahmacharya as Parshurama himself must fight to fulfil his dharma of fighting to uphold his word as given to Amba. They fought for 23 days without conclusion — Parshurama was chiranjeevi (immortal) and Bhishma had a boon that let him choose the time of his death. Two versions exist about how their battle came to and end.

End of the battle

As per one, On the 22nd night, Bhishma prayed to his ancestors to help him end the battle. His ancestors gave him a weapon which was not known to Parshurama . They told him that it would put Parshurama to sleep in the battlefield. A person who sleeps in the battlefield is considered to be dead as per Vedas. They advised Bhishma to call back the weapon at the end of day after sunset so that Parshurama will come back to his sense and that shall bring the end to war. However the weapon was never used as Bhishma walked out of the war.

As per the other version, on the 23rd day, Bhishma summoned the infallible celestial weapon(astra) Prashvapastra, the method of using which was known to him and him alone. Neither did a counter-attack exist, nor was a defense against it known to Parshurama . As Bhishma mounted the astra on his bow, a divine voice guided Bhishma not to fire the weapon as its use would lead to the humiliation of Bhishma’s guru(Parasurama himself). Bhishma refrained from using the weapon that would have brought him certain victory. Upon witnessing this, Parshurama  was overcome with adulation for his disciple and proclaimed Bhishma as the victor.

Parshurama and Amba

Parshurama thus told Amba that he could not win over Bhishma and gave her the boon of “mahakal shiva”. Amba did penance to please Lord Shiva. Shiva gave her the boon that she would be instrumental in the death of Bhishma. Amba would later be reborn as the eunuch prince Shikhandi in the household of king Drupada.

 

Seven facts about Bhishma